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Conflicting Goals Make it Impossible to Make Decisions


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I am completely stuck. After going out of town to visit my dad and ask if he could help finance a Masters Degree in counseling, I feel even less sure where I'm going or what I'm doing. He's basically not going to help me financially, so I am reluctant to take out a 30,000 dollar+ loan when I don't even know if I'll be able to get a job afterwards! I want to be a Marriage and Family Therapist, but, frankly, am not interested in building my own practice because people cannot afford counseling in this economy. I will have to bvuy inurance, won't get benefits, etc. I feel that I'm basically setting myself up for failure. The program would take over 3 years, not including mandatory post-grad experience, which is not even guaranteed. It's too risky! I don't even have a job anymore.


Furthermore, my boyfriend would like to get married next summer. We talked about it and we both want to start a family ASAP (as soon as we get married, at least). That will conflict with a Masters Program and working full-time. I'm really unhappy that I might have to put any kids we have in day care! My dream has always been to homeschool the kids. I'm just a few units short of a Masters in Education, but Teaching is out of the question anymore.


I want to be able to stay home with my kids. Before that, I'd like to work in a counseling or teaching-related position but I can't find anything. I'm so depressed.


Should I get a Masters in Marriage Counseling when I don't even know if I'll be able to find a job several years down the road? I'll have outstanding loans and it will suck big time. I already wasted time getting a useless teaching degree and don't want to do that again. I learned my lesson the first time.


I just feel so stuck. What should I be doing right now? My boyfriend is working 2 jobs and looking for other stuff so we can prepare for marriage and a family, but I don't know what to do!


My heart's desire has always been marriage and family life and I enjoy teaching, counseling, and writing. But I don't want to work a crazy schedule in order to do that. I want to be able to enjoy a job/career and still be able to spend time with/making a future family. I am very conflicted and don't know where to turn. These are such big decisions!


P.S. I have already taken a variety of assessments and personality tests, read What Color is My Parachute, and studied several decision-making books. I continue to pray for wisdom, ask people questions about what they do, and I've been to the Employment Development Department. I know what I enjoy, but I'm scared it will involve too much responsibility and I will miss out on being able to raise kids, which is my dream. I know I will have to work one way or another, but am scared to throw the dice when something is not guaranteed. I don't even know if I'll be able to handle the stress that comes with counseling. I get wrapped up in other people very easily and I can see that becoming a problem.

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Just this month alone, hundreds, if not thousands, of teachers lost their jobs. I only taught for one year yet those who have tenure are even getting laid off. I am very low on the totem pole. Friends of mine are out of work. It is crazy. Also, the way Education is going right now is horrid. Class sizes are huge, kids' behavior is atrocious, and there isn't money for supplies (I spent thousands on my class when I did teach). I know I am so full of complaints, but I don't think I'm being pessimistic. This is the way things are going. I suppose I could relocate, but that sucks. I would have to leave family and friends behind...especially 3 family members who are sick. I just feel that I'm damned if I do or don't and I don't know which way to turn. How do I step out of this mess and make a new life? I don't even know if that can be answered. I talk to counselors and they aren't even sure. I'm just told "It's bad everywhere now...just hang in there until something comes along"...but I have for a couple years now and I'm getting older...

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We are in counseling and I am leaving it as a possibility for sure now that I am more familiar with everything.



But I should add...the counseling is not helping so much for vocational issues or I wouldn't be in this predicament. I know it has to be my decision, but I just feel so stuck. I mean, if anyone could give me any personal stories, guidelines, etc. I guess it's just a last resort since I do read books on all this stuff. I wish I could make decisions better.

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Well honestly if your goal is to be a stay at home mother within the next few years then I don't think making a heavy investment in a degree for a field that you're not even sure you'll be able to handle is the right idea. I have some serious reservations about you trying for a child within the next year with your boyfriend (you saying "at least" makes me think you are thinking of conceiving before marriage), but you know all of that already.


Have you tried applying to private schools? Administrative school system positions? General administrative positions? Daycares or nurseries maybe even?


What other jobs might interest you aside from a career in counseling?


Given what you've said about your boyfriend's finances and job type, I think it might be quite difficult for you to raise a family on his income only, especially if you have no substantial savings or assets now, which I think you don't. I guess aside from the issue of employability and the issue of marrying your boyfriend, I'm not sure having children within the next two years is a financially realistic goal. If you do want to stay at home, I would forgo an expensive degree, try to find a position wherever you can now, and then look into training courses that would give you a good set of skills in a short amount of time, and boost your salary potential and employability.

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Ok WomanWriter, you are here to ask for advice, so I’ll offer mine. Of course, and as always with any kind of advice, please disregard as you see fit.


First of all, NO to investing 30 grand you don’t have in a Master’s degree that will not get you anywhere. Judging by your posts I simply do not see how you could possibly cut it as a marriage counselor. Neither could I, for the record. You just don’t have anything figured out at all in your own life –you cannot expect to guide people on how to have successful and fulfilling relationships for a living with any degree of integrity.


It would be like me giving people fashion advice for money. I know my limitations. Nobody in real life is going to be blunt enough to tell you this, but here online we can.


Second, NO to getting married and having kids with this guy. This is by far the worst case of “settling” I have ever been privy to. The problem here is that your goal is to be a housewife and a mother. This should NEVER be a life goal in and of itself. Marriage is not something to aspire to, because then you start looking at people as means to an end.


The healthy way: I meet someone. I fall in love with them. I can suddenly imagine myself marrying them and starting a family. If you remove the guy from the equation, marriage and kids would not even be on my radar.


Your way: I want to get married and be a stay-at-home mum. I need a guy. There is a guy. He’ll do. With a little bit of work.


Third: this economy is HELL, and the time for whipped cream wishy washy fluff is over for everybody. Gone are the days when one could make a living out of being a vegan diet coach for Chihuahuas slash holistic medicine internet expert. You need SKILLS, real marketable transferable skills. Writing well is a marketable skill, but if you aren’t making ends meet with your writing by now, either you are not good enough or you aren’t marketing yourself well enough, or you aren’t investing enough time and energy in it.


You are neither the first nor the last person to change careers radically. So if you don’t like teaching, don’t do it. God knows the world has enough unmotivated unhappy teachers as it is. Find something that will make you money, and do your passion-job part time. Invest time and effort on your passion-job until you can finally do that full-time. Learn something radical: hair-dressing; massage therapy, computer skills (the serious kind), languages, nursing… Something.


You cannot continue to rely on what-ifs, maybe-laters and hope-that-tomorrows forever. This is your reality, and you need to fix it.

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The healthy way: I meet someone. I fall in love with them. I can suddenly imagine myself marrying them and starting a family. If you remove the guy from the equation, marriage and kids would not even be on my radar.


Your way: I want to get married and be a stay-at-home mum. I need a guy. There is a guy. He’ll do. With a little bit of work.


Ersatz - I think you have a brilliant post and i agree with all of it except for this part. I too am shocked that WW is considering marrying this many considering how many troubles she has had with him after just a few months of dating.


I think there's nothing wrong with wanting to get married and have children as a goal. But of course, if one has such a goal, one must also answer some hard questions. If a woman wants to be a stay at home mother, she should make sure that she finds a husband who is responsible, has a good, stable paying job, and can support her and the x amount of children they want to have together. I really don't see any indication that WW's boyfriend is at all responsible in any way shape or form, or that he would be able to support her and their children financially and emotionally.

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That is absolutely invaluable advice you are giving. Sensible and down to earth, with real insight behind it. And I echo what Forecracker says. Maybe you do ot want to hear those views, and I seem to recall on another thread you expressed that you are prone to being too dependent, to getting depressed, and so forth.

I agree that, aside from the financial aspect, you may not be cut out for being a counsellor.


Millions of people in the world combine a career with family. They have to, in order to live, pay bills and educate their children if they have them.



but I'm scared it will involve too much responsibility


Even being a stay at home mother, raising children and running a household involves a lot of responsibility. It is no walk in the park. Then 15 or 18 years down the line you may even resent having stayed at home...and you will go back to the ruminating of "maybe I should have.....".



Maybe, at heart, you are a bit scared of life,WW. I don't think any degree is "useless", WW. Perhaps my advice would be not to engage in what is termed "fortune-telling". None of us has the faintest idea what the future holds, for ourselves or for anyone else. Maybe it is just as well...



Meantime, the past is gone, history. So what you have is the present, And what you do even in the next ten hours configures the tomorrow.

Certainly the economy is in bad shape at the moment. That will not always be the case. Who knows what it will be like in three years time.

I agree with the advice to do a course in something which you will not only enjoy but which will bring in an income in the future.


And, do not marry for the sake of marrying, especially if this person is not suitable.


All the best


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